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What CES Reveals About The Future Of Market Research

The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) spotlights a trend that has particular relevance for the future of marketing research. It points to a “ubiquity of connectedness” – that is, a future in which consumers are “connected” not only via their smart devices, but their televisions, home appliances, and of course, their vehicles.

 

Editor’s Note: It is my great pleasure to welcome Greg Heist, VP of Research Innovation at Gongos Research to the GreenBook Blog family! I was privileged to spend some time with Greg and the Gongos team last year on a few occasions and I was immensely impressed by his experience, creativity, and vision. Greg has been the primary architect of the transformation of Gongos from a well regarded small research provider to a “sought after brand” that has grown into a Honomichl 50 international player and is widely considered a thought leader and beacon of technological and methodological innovation, particularly in their use of mobile approaches. In this inaugural post you’ll see why that position has been well earned as Greg explores the implications of the advances in consumer technology showcased at the recent CES on market research.

 

By Greg Heist

As humans, we’ve become “connection junkies” – having grown accustomed to the convenience of accessing information, entertainment and insights at will.  At the same time, we’ve begun to realize that there are situations where connecting doesn’t always make sense via our smart device.  E.g., texting while driving is now heavily legislated (and I’m pretty sure the spirit of the law includes accessing apps too).It does make sense, however, to have other immersive products that we often interface with step in.  A connected refrigerator, for instance, becomes more than a kitchen appliance from where my boys grab their frozen waffles.  It becomes an information hub where I can efficiently track the contents of my pantry and shopping needs, plan meals, hone my skills as a chef and watch Netflix while chopping carrots.

The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) spotlights a trend that has particular relevance for the future of marketing research. It points to a “ubiquity of connectedness” – that is, a future in which consumers are “connected” not only via their smart devices, but their televisions, home appliances, and of course, their vehicles.

What’s driving this trend, you ask?

As humans, we’ve become “connection junkies” – having grown accustomed to the convenience of accessing information, entertainment and insights at will. At the same time, we’ve begun to realize that there are situations where connecting doesn’t always make sense via our smart device. E.g., texting while driving is now heavily legislated (and I’m pretty sure the spirit of the law includes accessing apps too).

It does make sense, however, to have other immersive products that we often interface with step in. A connected refrigerator, for instance, becomes more than a kitchen appliance from where my boys grab their frozen waffles. It becomes an information hub where I can efficiently track the contents of my pantry and shopping needs, plan meals, hone my skills as a chef and watch Netflix while chopping carrots.

From this perspective, the “ubiquity of connectedness” could indicate that consumers value the act of accessing content and information more than they value the form factor of the device itself. With the emergence of these new types of interfaces, consumers will become more device-agnostic. At the same time, the content they seek will continue to create stickiness with them, i.e. I’m more attached to having Pandora in my life than having to listen to it from my iPhone.

So what does this mean for researchers?

If Wired magazine was right about people wanting the “screen to come to them,” then the new “connected consumer” will spend less time attached to their PC or smart device, and be more likely to respond with their thoughts from whatever activity they are immersed in at the moment. This points to the notion that the secret sauce is really in the app itself – even if what the “app” of tomorrow looks quite different from today.

It’s all part of how marketing research can more seamlessly become a natural part of consumers’ lives—and how we as researchers can truly “be in the moment” with them.

What are your thoughts?

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2 Responses to “What CES Reveals About The Future Of Market Research”

  1. Kathryn Korostoff says:

    January 18th, 2012 at 10:13 am

    A great example of this is the new Coca Cola soda machines. I’d heard they were coming a coupe of years ago, and one was recently installed at my local 5 Guys’ burger joint. The machine allows you to push buttons to select various Coke types and flavors–many possible combinations. Not only does the consumer get to mix a custom drink (which my 13 y.o. thought was a lot of fun…ok, so did I), Coca Cola gets to find out what combos are most popular–what a great source of market insight and new product inspiration!

  2. Beth Rounds says:

    January 25th, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Greg:
    Great blog! I read the Ad Age Article about the fact that corporate marketers were flocking to CES this year. The “connected consumer” is where it is at and we can already see evidence of technology + consumer connections to brands have merged.
    Check out http://www.cmo.com/mobile/adobe-digital-marketing-study-finds-tablets-rule-shopping?cmpid=TT125 on an article about this topic. The speed at which this is all coming together is really amazing. A definite revolution that has widespread implications for the traditional MR firm.

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